Cycling Advisory Committee begins planning for a road diet on Maple; also looking into a bike share program for th city.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 27, 2016



The city has a number of Advisory committees made up of people appointed by city council.

Those appointed are, for the most part, made up of people who apply to sit on the committee.

Some of the advisory committees are very effective and play a significant role in developing policy that city council eventually adopts. The Heritage Advisory committee is one example as is the Cycling committee (BCC)


The green bike lanes are intended to help highlight the bike lane portion of the road, reminding motorists and cyclists to be aware of each other and drive with caution. This is especially important at intersections where cars must cross over the bike lane to make a right-hand turn. The new road markings are being installed as part of the resurfacing project on Guelph Line and Fairview Street.

That committee met Tuesday, September 27, 2016 with the following members present: Don Thorpe (Chair), Chris Ariens, Brad Slade, Jackie Lodder, Glenn Cockfield, Jeff Brooks, James Schofield, Brett Moore, Teresa Baerg. Also attending were: Councillor Jack Dennison, Dan Ozimkovic, Kendra Willard and Jo-Anne Rudy (Clerk)

Dan Thorpe advised that the Cycling Committee was requesting $150,000 in 2017 Capital budget to update Cycling Master Plan.

To the surprise of some- the committee has started working on a road diet for Maple Avenue from Lakeshore Road to just south of Mapleview Mall – a pilot project for next spring. The last pilot project on New Street was a total disaster – not because it was a bad idea but due to the terrible communications issues.

The Cycling Committee has also started working on a road diet for Lakeshore Road from water treatment plant to Eastport Drive. That part of the city is part of a very detailed and involved plan to turn the Beachway Park into a significant outdoor destination that might actually see the light of day – but that is at least a decade away.

The committee purchased four more bike repair stations which will be installed next year. One location will be the Elgin Street promenade. – looking for suggestions on other locations from committee.


The Burlington Cycling Advisory Committee is talking to the folks in Hamilton about creating a bike share program for the city.

The committee is talking with Hamilton to extend their BikeShare program to Burlington. Metrolinx is apparently willing to cover approximately half the cost. Need to determine strategy for balance of cost and get Council’s buy-in.

The committee has seven bike racks left for that can be given to any business that meets the criteria.

The committee reported in its minutes that the New Street road diet opened on August 23 – “very negative feedback was received at the beginning but is reducing. Collecting traffic and length of time data via Bluetooth technology which has shown that there hasn’t been a huge increase in travel delay. Will be going out with a drone to collect additional data. No issues have been received from police, fire, ambulance or Transit.”

What proved to be close at an albatross around the neck of the Mayor hasn’t really been given a chance. The New Street Road diet was an idea that seemed like a good one at the time. Shortly after the roads were marked with the sharrows the Region began digging up part of New Street for water pipes.

Special lanes for bicycles and the speed at which vehicles travel along city roads are an ongoing concern for Rob Nxx who stands here beside recently painted sharrows on city streets.

Special lanes for bicycles are marked with painted sharrows on city streets. Sharing the road is part of Burlington’s future – and is proving to be difficult for a city that is addicted it its cars – partly because transit is so inconvenient.

It seemed as if one level of government didn’t talk to or know what the other level of government was doing – when there is a committee that meets monthly to review who is constructing what where so that there is no overlap. Someone appears to have forgotten to send that meeting memo to Burlington’s Transportation department.

The Cycling committee is doing its job – they just don’t seem to be able to get aligned with what the Transportation department is doing.

Councillor Dennison provided his perspective on opening day and noted that traffic was moving well. He said he had received positive comments from residents and that it is safer to cross New Street and the speed of traffic is reduced.

In a test drive the Gazette did on New Street during rush hour traffic in the evening we didn’t experience anything in the way of delays worth mentioning. We saw just the one rider using the cycling lanes.

The Regional Health Department has $1,000 the BCC can use for an event or communication. Use it for communication and clear up the communication story quickly before they lose all their credibility.

Committee discussed and felt that although the data they appear to have is important information, now was not the right time for a communication on sidewalk cycling, given the current negative feedback for New Street.

What is one to make of all that?

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Canadian laws regarding the sexual abuse of children need to change.

opinionandcommentBy Merron Vermeer

November 27, 2016



I think we can all agree that this is a much more urgent issue than hydro bills or housing prices. Let’s put some effort into protecting our most vulnerable.

Right now, if an adult has sex with a child, the minimum sentence is 1 year in jail. For “less serious” sexual crimes against children, six months is a possibility. These sexual predators can get out early on good behaviour. Nobody who violates the sanctity of a child’s body deserves to be rewarded for good behaviour. They have demonstrated behaviour that destroys a child’s trust in adults, a child’s right to be safe, a child’s sense of belonging in a just community. There are many addictions that hurt the addict.

But the sexual exploitation of children traumatizes the innocent with wounds that never heal. No one who uses a child to satisfy a physical urge and then walk away without remorse should get any free pass for good behaviour. The behaviour is abhorrent. Unfortunately, it is easier than ever for this depravity to continue. There is a growing community of child abusers who work together to satisfy their destructive urges.


A pedophile is mentally ill. They are a danger to the public, especially vulnerable children. Jail is not the only solution.

I know bad things happen in this world, and I can usually read about it, worry about it, and then hold my own children close, while trying to move on. But this? This is too absurd to me. How is this not the MOST punishable crime in Canada? The longest jail sentence. Right alongside murder. Have you ever talked to a victim of sexual abuse? It’s a life long sentence. A struggle to rise above the despicable acts that were performed on them in their most vulnerable stage of life. Trust in humanity is broken.

Those images and feelings of violation and helplessness never leave them. There is unwarranted guilt. Embarrassment. But most painfully, abandonment of community. We, as a society, allow their predators back out, to walk the streets, enjoying a freedom that victims will never feel.

As well, since most of these crimes are perpetrated by men, women start to distrust all men. It’s not fair to the good men that are just as passionate about the safety and well-being of children as any woman. My dad. My husband. My son. But sadly, when the media reports the details of yet another pedophile, it weakens the trust we have in men. Human decency demands that men and women work together to strengthen the laws that protect our most vulnerable.

Currently, the Canadian courts can offer a lighter sentence to pedophiles who agree to medication or chemical castration that will help to manage their sexual impulses. But they cannot force them to continue treatments indefinitely once the sentence has been completed. Physical castration is considered the most severe and controversial response to sex crimes. But, you know what? It would be a pretty effective deterrent!

I am a mother and a kindergarten teacher. I am particularly invested in, and connected to our most innocent community members. I will take every one of these stories of twisted, self-indulgent pedophiles to my grave. I will n.e.v.e.r understand how a human being could take pleasure in the sexual violation of babies. It is brutal and cruel and there is NO excuse.

With the increase in demand for child pornography, child prostitution, and other forms of child exploitation, I hope there will be appropriate consequences that send the message to pedophiles that they are NOT okay. Their actions will be punished. They will be judged harshly. No second or third or fourth chances. I get it that they are sick. Most times they ADMIT this in court. They’re mentally ill. But in these cases, they must be held criminally responsible. If that means castration, so be it. I need to know that the children on my watch can play in the park without fear. That, as a community, we will judge sexual predators harshly and demand the kind of punishment that will deter them.

Speak out against this insidious behaviour before it threatens even one more innocent life. Children trust us to keep them safe. I want the legal system to reflect this by getting tougher on sexual crimes against children.

Merron Vermeer is a mother and a kindergarten teacher with the Halton Board of Education. She shares her personal views.

cosaEditor’s note: Every pedophile was at some point in their early lives abused. It becomes a self-perpetuating circle. There is a way to break that process: Circles of Support and Accountability – a process that allows the community to take responsibility for the damage that was done. No one was born a pedophile – the society they were raised in got them to the point where they damage others.

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Jane McKenna wins the Progressive Conservative nomination for Burlington riding. That was the easy part.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 26th, 2016



She is back.

McKenna arms up outside pollingJane McKenna will refine her attack and begin her campaign to get herself re-elected the member of the provincial legislature for Burlington.

Congratulations Ms McKenna.

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Harvester Road temporarily closed between Appleby Line and Walkers Line

Newsflash 100By Staff

November 25, 2016



Road Closure

Due to a broken water main, Harvester Road will be temporarily closed between Appleby Line and Walkers Line, Burlington.

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Province providing funding for the formation of groups that encourage greater social inclusion, volunteerism and community engagement.

element_seniorsBy Staff

November 25, 2016



Ontario is helping seniors across the province continue to connect with and contribute to their communities by supporting local programs that help them stay involved, learn new skills and lead active lives.

Organizations can now apply for support for local projects through the Seniors Community Grant program. Applications will be open until March 3, 2017 and can be accessed online.

Link to the applications forms:

Transit - seniors with Gould

It didn’t require funding from anyone for this group of seniors to put their ideas and transit needs.

Successful projects will reflect the diversity of Ontario’s seniors and encourage seniors’ community involvement through volunteerism, learning, social inclusion and physical activity. Projects funded in past years have ranged from music therapy programs, to social media classes, to mentor-ship programs linking seniors with young people.

This year, projects focusing on raising public awareness and prevention of elder abuse will be given priority. This is part of the government’s commitment to help stop elder abuse by supporting a secure and supportive environment for Ontario’s seniors.

Supporting our seniors is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

The Seniors Community Grant Program, the first grant program in Ontario dedicated solely to seniors, is designed to give seniors more opportunities to participate in their communities by providing funding to not-for-profit community groups for projects that encourage greater social inclusion, volunteerism and community engagement for seniors.

The ceremonies over the Naval Promenade becomes the fous with the Seniors' out in force listening to the All MAle Welsh Choir. Strolling along is Craig Stevens, the city's project manager on the pier project. He direction and oversight kept the project going when it got a little wonky at times - but that's another story.

Seniors taking in an afternoon concert.

This grant program will make $2 million available for projects across Ontario that will help more seniors become socially engaged and feel part of their communities. Grants range from $1000 to $8,000.

Read the program guidelines and use this application form.

Contact points:
Toll Free: 1-866-SCG-2017 (1-866-724-2017)
TTY (for the hearing impaired): 1-800-387-5559

Applications will be accepted between November 25, 2016 and March 3, 2017. Projects must not start prior to June 15, 2017 and be completed by March 31, 2018.

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Do the police have your stuff? If you were robbed recently they just might have it.

Crime 100By Staff

November 25th, 2016



The police know your house was robbed – they’ve found your stuff and they have the criminals in custody – now they have to find you.

The Halton Regional Police Service, Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau is appealing to residents to come forward to identify property following the November 3, 2016 arrest of two individuals in connection with multiple break and enters in the Burlington area.


Is this missing from your garage?

Investigation by officers has determined that the duo was active in the early evening and overnight hours, targeting property in driveways and garages.

Numerous items, which police believe to be stolen, were seized following the recent execution of a search warrant at a storage locker. Recovered property includes tools, bicycles and trailers.

In an effort to identify the rightful owners of the items, the Halton Regional Police Service has established a web page with photos for members of the public who may have been victims of theft fitting this description to visit and review.

The link to that site is:

A note of caution – the pages don’t always load very quickly

Any questions about the items shown should be directed to Detective Constable Mark Urie at 905-825-4747 ext. 2338 or

In the meantime, residents are reminded to always keep a record of property owned with serial numbers and/or something identifiable such as etching.

Karen ZABOLOTNY , 36, of Burlington and Ugo MAURO , 47, of Mississauga have been charged with several property related offences including Theft Under $5000, Break and Enter – Commit Theft, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.

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IT maintenance taking some city services off line

notices100x100By Staff

November 25th, 2016



The City of Burlington will be doing some I.T. maintenance. As a result, the following services will be unavailable from Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at 10 p.m. until 10 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 27:

• GIS services
• Mapping page and services
• Open Data page

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More on what it is that Brock University wanted to see happen at the Art Gallery of Burlington

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 25th, 2106



There is now a little bit more to tell about the conversations that have taken place between people at City Hall, the Art Gallery of Burlington and Brock University.

In a previous article we said: “Turns out that Brock University, headquartered in St. Catharines, has been sniffing around the Art Gallery of Burlington to see if some kind of a deal can be put together.”

There are a number of different pieces that need to be pulled together to get a clearer picture of what might be taking place.

We know that Brock University people have been talking to people in Burlington. At the time we didn’t know quite what the Brock agenda was. Nor did we know who at City hall was having the conversations with Brock – was it on the administrative side or the political side?

We do know that the discussions put the president of the Art Gallery of Burlington in an awkward position.
We are now pretty sure those conversations were with the Office of the Mayor.

What was the connection between Brock, the AGB – that we did not know.

Some context.


Martin von Zan and his daughter Kayla of Interkom Smart Marketing

Martin van Zon of Burlington based Interkom Smart Marketing prides himself on the work he has done for the St. Catharines Performing Art Centre where we understand he has helped them with fund raising. Van Zon was always disappointed that the Burlington Performing arts centre didn’t avail themselves of his services.

We know that Martin van Zon has had discussions with Mayor Goldring about being involved in the Mayor’s re-election campaign. We suspect he has asked von Zon to play a major role in his 2018 re-election campaign.

We know that Kayla , Martin’s van Zon’s daughter, is deeply embedded in the Mayors Millennial Advisory Committee. she was part of the committee, along with a Kimberly Calderbank, Christopher Reuse and Tyler Freeman who presented their subcommittees co-created critical success factors for the work plan at the May meeting of the Millennial Advisory Committee.

We know as well that Martin van Zon has been hired by Brock University as a consultant to help the University decide what it wants to do with the Rodman Collection.

How do all these pieces come together?


Rodman Hall Art Centre – part of Brock University in St. Catharines has a highly rated collection.

In 2003 Brock University bought the Rodman Hall Arts Centre for the token fee of two dollars, and the agreement that no assets or holdings would be sold off for 20 years.

In 2015, Brock University VP Finance and Administration Brian Hutchings said Brock is “looking to reduce its subsidy to the Rodman Hall Arts Centre by 50%”. He is reported to have added that they needed to determine where Rodman fits in Brock’s orbit which was something to be studied. The university then went looking for an external consultant.

They ended up hiring van Zon for a reported $50,000 to hold four discussion meetings in St. Catharines about the Rodman Hall Arts Centre.

Those meetings did not go all that well. We will return to them
A little more background.

In 1955, St. Catharine’s residents began to develop an interest in a cultural centre. They saw many advantages from the coordination of activities among the cultural groups active in St. Catharines and region and decided to hold a conference to explore some ideas.

From that meeting came the idea that an arts council be formed. With that objective set – the group set out to find a building and facilities to provide workshop and studio space for activities of the member groups and a gallery for art exhibitions. They did that during 1957-58.

In early 1959, the nascent Arts Council approached Mr. T. R. Merritt, then the owner of Rodman Hall, and learned that Mr. Merritt was not only willing to sell his property, but was pleased at the prospect of his family home becoming a civic cultural centre. An agreement was reached quickly, on price and conditions, and the Arts Council was ready to proceed with property purchase and arts centre establishment.


St, Catharines is bisected by the Welland Canal. The Rodman home was built for one of the sons of the man who built the first canal.

St. Catharines is bisected by the Welland Canal – the route that let ships pass from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. William Hamilton Merritt (1793-1862) built the first Welland Canal. The accomplishments of the various members of the Merritt family are so significant to St. Catharine’s that the city declared November 27th a “Merritt Day.” which marks the anniversary of the first passage of a vessel through the Welland canal.

Rodman Hall became Rodman Hall Arts Centre on September 17, 1960

From 1960 through to 1975 the Hall grew adding to its collection and to the size of the property. It was seen as one of the best preservation efforts in the province.

New facilities provided by the 1975 expansion qualified Rodman Hall as a “National Exhibition Centre” with the principal function of providing exhibitions of fine art which may be seen by the people of St. Catharines and Niagara Region. Being designated a National Exhibition Centres was significant; it meant that quality work could be displayed from the most important galleries in Canada including the National Museums of Canada International Exhibition Programme.


An installation at Rodman Hall

From 1975 until the end of 1981, 125 exhibitions have been presented. Attendance has increased 50 per cent in the last ten years. By the end of 1981 the collection numbered 375 works valued at $550,000.
Rodman Hall flourished.

By the end of the 1990s however accessing public funds was becoming increasingly difficult for the Rodman administration

Brock University stepped in and bought the place in 2003 when they were flush. Rodman Hall continued to operate as a public entity distinct from the university.

Brock’s financial contributions toward running the facility and maintaining the building and property rose considerably over the past decade. The university calls the costs for ongoing operations and needed capital upgrades “a growing concern.”

A recent Rodman Hall budget of $840,000 Brock kicked in $576,000.

Brock needed a way to cut its contribution in half, and asked Rodman Hall’s citizen advisory committee to offer suggestions by early summer on how to achieve that goal.

When Brock University bought Rodman Hall for two bucks, the sales agreement stipulated Brock couldn’t sell off any property or assets for at least 20 years.

The flush days of 2003 had clearly come to an end.


Rodman Hall Art Centre – outdoor art classes.

All other facets of the university’s operation have been recently scrutinized, said Brock’s top finance official Brian Hutchings, and Rodman Hall is no exception.

Many thought Rodman should be self-sufficient. Those of us who look at the cost of running the art Gallery of Burlington and the Performing Arts centre know better.

This is where van Zon enters the picture. He has a $50,000 contract from the university to hold discussions with the St. Catharines community. He reports to the Brock University board of trustees.

The meetings van Zon held didn’t go very well – in fact they went rather badly.

The buzz in St. Catharines is that Rodman will be “given” to a “newly formed non-profit” in the summer of 2016, whose mandate will be to then sell the parkland and building. This money will then be the base of a larger fundraising campaign to build a new public gallery in downtown St. Catharines.

Interkom Smart Marketing was said to be “re-evaluating Brock’s relationship to Rodman Hall Arts Centre”. This was not going down very well with the St. Catharines arts community. van Zon was getting a very rough ride.
van Zon appears to have come up with a solution – make a deal with the Art Gallery of Burlington that has them taking on the Rodman collection with perhaps some of the funding coming along with it.

BAC aerial

Did Brock University want to convince the Art Gallery to take their collection.

What a feather that would be in the Mayor’s cap – nice wave to ride an election win on.

The Rodman collection has a far superior reputation than the Art Gallery of Burlington collection.

Would it be less than logical to conclude that Martin Van Zon believes he can deliver a big one for the Mayor by having the Art Gallery of Burlington accept the Rodman collection? Are we certain? No – for the most part this is speculation. But if you look at the record and all that has taken place, it is not too far from a logical conclusion.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a statement from the Office of the Mayor


What got this story started?

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Youngest ever MPP to take a seat at Queen's Park.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 25th, 2016



It is said that in order to know where you want to go, you need to know where you’ve been. In political life that is called experience and education. So what makes a 19 year old first-year university student think he has the qualifications to represent a provincial riding at Queen’s Park? And why would the electors put someone with so few qualifications into office.


Sam Oosterhoff elected to serve as the Member of the provincial parliament for Niagara West- Glanbrook.

That is what voters in the recent by-election of Niagara West-Glanbrook (NWG) did. Sam Oosterhoff is the youngest MPP to grace the halls of Queen’s Park, ever. It might be an age thing though. The voters in that area first elected former PC leader Tim Hudak at age 27 making him one of the youngest MPP’s at that time. And if this trend continues we could expect the next member from there to take up office at the ripe old age of eleven. Perhaps this is a brilliant strategy by the voters to engage youth in the political process. If we can’t get them to turn out to vote, then we’ll just have to elect them into office.

Or perhaps it is the fashion these days – electing unqualified candidates. People are fed up with those professional politicians who have worked their way up – you know the ones the rabble refer to as the elites. US president-elect Donald Trump is more than 50 years older than Sam, but has neither worked in government, nor sought, let alone been elected to, any political office. But that didn’t stop almost half of voting Americans from putting the ignoramus into the highest office in the land. Some Americans would rather have Sam as their president, I’m sure.

There is something about democracy ensuring that you get the government you deserve. And maybe experience doesn’t matter anymore. If that is the case then why do our MPP’s get six figure salaries? If experience counts for nothing what is this nonsense about having to pay the big bucks to attract good candidates, when any Joe can do the job? Not many of Sam’s peers at university will be pulling in that kind of dough as they finish off their degrees.

Isn’t it about respect in the end? How can we claim to respect our electoral system when almost anybody can be elected? Well anybody should be able to get elected, but wouldn’t it behoove them to at least have a little experience under their belt? There are few tests for candidates, though the political parties have a screening process. Did young Sam slip though the cracks or was this some kind of joke the Tories were playing on the electors.

The truth is that the only qualification that matters in politics is that you have been elected. Looking back to the US election, while everyone concedes that Hillary Clinton was the most qualified candidate to contest that position in years, that alone didn’t get her elected. Sometimes it’s style, charisma, star quality or sympathy that wins the hearts of the voters – nothing to do with the candidates actual experience.

Progressive Conservative candidate Sam Oosterhoff, for Niagara-West Glanbrook, speaks to members of the media after casting his vote in the byelection at Spring Creek Church in Vineland, Ontario, Thursday, November 17, 2016. Oosterhoff, the 19-year-old PC candidate in Niagara who hopes to become the youngest ever member of the Ontario legislature, says people are angry about their hydro bills and industrial wind turbines installed in the riding. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett

Progressive Conservative candidate Sam Oosterhoff, for Niagara-West Glanbrook, speaks to members of the media after casting his vote in the byelection at Spring Creek Church in Vineland, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett

Some might say that electing Sam was a protest vote against the Wynne government, but NWG had been a Tory riding for over two decades – and re-electing a Tory is hardly a protest. That would be an even greater insult to Sam, who was likely running for what he could do, rather than trying to keep the government from doing what they do.

And while the Liberals may be stuck at the bottom of the polls, they had no trouble retaining the other by-election seat up for grabs last week in Ottawa-Vanier. So we can only wish Sam the best as he embraces his new job. It will be a full-time learning curve – and with his MPP salary, a very expensive education.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Niagara West-Glanbrook –    Sam Oosterhoff –  More Oosterhoff

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Did you just interrupt me? And now you want me to pay attention to you? Why would I do that ask James Burchill.

marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

November 24th, 2016



Interruptions cost more than the time taken … they impact your efficiency and your productivity. Some studies suggest that a single interruption (email ding, phone call, social media status ping, co-worker walking into your office) costs you between 15 and 30 minutes of productivity.

Here’s why: the actual interruption takes you “out of the work flow” you were in and once the interruption has ended, you require time to get back to that level of performance before the interruption. As indicated, this can be as much as 30 minutes. Imagine if you were interrupted every half and hour … you’d barely get any work done.

Oh wait, that’s why most open plan offices are (IMHO) such poor productivity hubs. When I worked for a company I always stipulated an office with an opaque or solid door (so you can’t see people waving at you to see if you’re “free”) that I could close. I trained my staff that certain times I was open to interruptions but when my door was closed … you’d better be running to tell me the building was on fire or that you cut off a limb and needed 911! Protect your time … you can’t manufacture any more and those people that are most productive in a day, are usually the ones that do.

Checking Your Email
Remember email is NOT a TO DO list. Also, email is someone else’s agenda – NOT YOURS. Finally, batch your email checking and responding to scheduled times each day. Sometimes I quickly check the SUBJECT LINE and FROM field for “client fires” and “expected deliverables” first thing in the morning but my proper review/reply is at noon and finally once more at 4pm. It’s been the single biggest productivity booster I’ve ever implemented (second only to finding my most productive hours) and now I’m dogmatic about it.

Unsolicited Phone-Calls
I never take an unsolicited call from a number I don’t recognize, ever. People can leave messages and I will choose to call back if I am interested. Also, I prefer email over phone because I read 5X faster than I can talk! Also, it encourages people say what they mean … I got tired of voicemails like this: “Hi James, it’s [name or often “Me”] … call me when you have a moment.” Seriously? How the heck am I supposed to prioritize that message?

Guess what … I don’t call back when I get messages like that.

If you want to leave me a message then do us both a favour and state WHO it is that calling, say WHAT you want and say WHEN you need it. Also for extra points, tell me the URGENCY/IMPORTANCE factor as you perceive it. For example, “Hey James, it’s John Smith calling about the web project. The client needs an update by Friday at 5pm. Can you please advise status by end of day tomorrow?

If you can do that – you begin to get more productive.

burchill-jamesJames Burchill is the founder of Social Fusion Network – an organization that meets regularly in Burlington to allow networking and relationship building.  He also writes and trains people about how to make technology work for them.

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Central parents demonstrate outside Queen's Park - parent writes open letter to the Premier.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 23, 2016



Michelle Taylor is a parent with children in Burlington schools. She was deeply involved in the problems at Pineview  school and no she is angry with what she feels her provincial government is letting happen to the closing of schools in the province.

Burlington is currently about to embark on a Program Accommodation Review – a process that gets put in place when the number of seats being used in a school drops below 65%.


They were all smiles – glad to be doing what they were doing.

While one of the Burlington schools is not below that 65% number the cold hard fact I that the city has one and a half too many high schools.

There are more than 1800 empty seats in the city’s seven high schools.

The PAR process is controversial and it does put the parents who don’t want a community school closed at a disadvantage in that they don’t have the time frame to work within that a school board has had.

The Halton Board has seen this coming for some time. They delivered a report to the trustees and suggested that a Program Accommodation Review Committee be created. The trustees dutifully voted for that and the process now begins.

On Monday a group of people took the GO train into Toronto to demonstrate outside Queen’s Park. Michelle Taylor wasn’t able to make the trip – she wrote the Premier instead.

Despite being unable to attend yesterday’s Queen’s Park rally against your Pupil Accommodation Review process in person, I was closely watching for any useful reaction from the decision makers. I am very disappointed at the complete lack of respect you showed for those attempting to express their genuine and critical concerns to you on behalf of their communities. That combined with your arrogant and dismissive attitude when responding to the same from your fellow MPPs in Question Period is a huge disservice to every concerned parent and tax-payer across Ontario.


There was never any doubt who they were or why they were there.

As Premier of this great province, you and your ministers are short-changing your electors at every turn. You show no visible consideration for what matters most to those who pay your salaries, not even having the decency to reply with thoughtful answers instead of text-book form responses, if at all. For someone who pretends to be such a believer in “government for good”, you are shaming the democratic process time and time again.

STOP passing the buck back to school boards for a process that YOU CREATED.

STOP pretending that communities across Ontario are positively engaged in the very process that threatens to DESTROY them and their schools. Any participation has been at gun-point, out of fear for their future.

STOP dispensing platitudes for this rigged PAR process, pretending that it will provide the best results for Ontario students- “Every student deserves the best education possible. School consolidation is a tough decision for boards, but gives access to better programs”(Direct quote from your Twitter account, Nov. 21). NOBODY is buying it.

STOP assuming that you are the fountain of knowledge when it comes to education in this province. LISTEN to those representing and living in the communities you are threatening.


It as the first cold day of the month – but that didn’t dampen their spirits.

STOP the slow death you are inflicting on rural Ontario. THINK about the permanent and far-reaching implications of shutting down the agricultural back-bone of this province.

As a concerned parent, I started the SOS Pineview movement against the illogical closure of my village school. I also joined the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, a hard-working group whose members took time out of their lives to protest at your doorstep yesterday. Along with a rapidly-growing list of others, I will continue to encourage all Ontarians to raise their voices against your government. You will hear our strong objection a thousand times over. We are not going away. We will only get louder. We will not stop until you give us back what is rightfully ours- a deciding say in the future of our communities. Don’t forget- we are all vocal campaigners and unrelenting voters in EVERY election.


Almost like a flag – centralstrong.

You have a small window of opportunity before rising for the holidays on December 8th to show clear consideration and respect for the value of rural Ontario communities. I’m calling on you and your government to put a halt to the Pupil Accommodation Review process immediately, in favour of a new process that honours true public engagement and community value.


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Learning Foundation has distributed $35,000 so far this year to needy students - average is $715 a day.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 23, 2016



That Indian summer that stretched into November was nice – but it’s snow tires and winter coats for the next while.

What if you don’t have a winter coat? And there are people who don’t have winter coats.

This is seen at the public school level – classroom teachers notice that a student is wearing running shoes when solid winter boots are needed.

These needs are spotted at the school level – thank goodness for that. The Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) is in place to provide the funds needed to pay for some of the essentials so that a student can concentrate on their studies or enjoy a full academic life and not always be on the margins.


Head office for the Halton Learning Foundation – nothing fancy here – pretty bare bones; a portable in the Board of Education parking lot. . But as an organization – it works

The HLF distributes an average of $715 a day to students in need. So far this year they have distributed $35,000 in cash reimbursement and gift cards.

The requests for funding comes to the HLF from teachers throughout the Region – they report that the distribution is pretty even throughout Halton.

A donation of 400 winter coats from Mountain Merchandise will arrive soon – the HLF expects to have them on hand early in December.

The need at the student level is seen by the classroom teacher who sees the student every day. They notice when running shoes are being worn when the snow is deep. They see the student who doesn’t have a coat when they open the locker in the hallway.

Some teachers see more of a student than their parents do – which is no reflection on the parents. Teachers are the front line – and while they aren’t social workers they know that a students who hasn’t been properly fed is a student that is very hard to teach.

The HLF is putting together the final pieces of an innovative program that lets people get a seasonal gift for that person who has almost everything and it tough to buy for – we are going to tell you more about that in the days ahead.

The HLF will tell you that 10% of Halton District School Board students live at or below the poverty line. These are the students who can access emergency funding or student subsidies to help them stay in school and focused on learning.getting new - yellow


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Performing Arts Centre holding a Black Friday sale - 25% off!


By Staff
November 22, 2016

Is this a wickedly smart promotional tactic or are seat sales down so badly that something had to be done to boost sales.

Whichever, – it sounds like a good deal – you might want to take them up on it.

This Friday use promo code 25on25 to
receive 25% OFF regular tickets
for the following performances:

Quinn Sullivan – November 30
The Nutcracker – December 7 & 8
Maceo Parker – December 10
A Christmas Carol – December 22 & 23
Form Contemporary Dance – January 14
Lee Ann Womack – January 14
Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera – January 19-21
Fernando Varela – January 28
Rant Maggie Rant – February 2
Stewart Goodyear – February 3
Western Swing Authority- February 4
Receiver of Wreck – February 9-11
Robert Dubac’s The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? – February 11
African Guitar Summit – February 16
Sarah MacDougall – February 17
Diana Panton – February 18
Whitehorse – February 21
Infinity – February 23-25
Balé Folclórico Da Bahia – March 2
Eliana Cuevas – March 4
Larry Carlton – March 9
Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble – March 10
Stephen Fearing – March 22
Kaha:wi Dance Theatre – March 27
Shaolin Warriors – April 10
Morgan James – April 13
Johannes Linstead – April 26
Confessions of a Red Headed Coffeeshop Girl – May 4-6
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal – May 4

Offer valid on regular price tickets only on November 25, 2016. This offer does not apply to Youth or Child pricing. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or be applied to previous purchases. Offer only applies to performances listed above. No refunds or exchanges.graphic04

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The True Cost - an eye opener of a film.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

November 23, 2016



Thursday evening, November 24th, BurlingtonGreen, in partnership with Burlington Central Library and Halton Green Screens, will present the fifth acclaimed film of their 2016 Eco-Film Festival series, The True Cost.

This documentary tells the story of the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the clothing industry has on our world. The links between declining clothing prices and increasing human and environmental impact are forged as the audience gets a behind-the-scenes look at the industry. The True Cost is a revealing film that compels us to ask, “who really pays the price for our clothing?”


If the price is right – what is the true cost?

All areas of the industry are explored and exposed, from production of raw materials, to manufact-uring, to international shipping and retail networks, to the ultimate disposal of massive quantities of clothes. In particular, the film examines the damaging effects of “fast fashion”.

Similar to many other environmental realities facing our planet, the clothing industry follows the pattern of exploitation of people and the environment in the developing world, in order to feed the insatiable appetites of those in the developed world. This film project was initiated by people within the clothing and fashion industry itself, who have witnessed the grim reality of the situation firsthand.

In attendance during this film screening will be Kale Black of BurlingtonGreen, who will briefly share with the audience how he makes a positive difference through the informed purchasing choices he makes.
For those who make the time to see the film – it will be an eye opener. Unfortunately, the people who need to see the film are probably not going to be there.

The film trailer.

When: Thursday, November 24, 2016. Doors open at 6:30 pm with film beginning at 7 pm.
Where: Centennial Hall, Burlington Central Library, 2331 New Street.
Cost: $5 per person (free for BurlingtonGreen members).graphic02

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Transit routes 3 and 5 detours Saturday Nov. 26, 2016

notices100x100By Staff

November 23, 2016



santa_400x300The Santa 5k Race will be taking place in downtown Burlington on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 requiring some street closures from 7 to 11 a.m.

Routes 3 and 5 will be temporarily detoured in the area.

For real-time transit information and to plan your trip please use Trip Planner or call 905-639-0550.

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Fifty three years ago - America lost a President.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

November 22, 2016



How did our neighbour to the south get from the assassination of John Kennedy, the then President of the United States, 53 years ago to where that country is today?

And what do we as Canadians do? What questions do we ask?

Being Thankful for what we have and striving to ensure that we don’t slide into the morass the United States has taken on would be a good place to start.


Moment before rifle shots rang out ending the life of John F. Kennedy

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First piece of a pathway-bikeway that will link the west side of the city to the Centennial Trail on the east.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

November 22th, 2016



It’s a quirky little project that will look really nice when completed and serve to let people get across the three block downtown core but it has some entanglements; there is a major pipeline running beneath the path.


A view of what is in place now and what the landscape architects want to space to look like.

The project is included in the Core Commitment Implementation Strategy to improve active transportation in the downtown and enhance pedestrian and cycling connections.


Phase 1 will cover the space between Elizabeth and Pearl Street. It would fit in very nicely with the now under construction Bridgewater development that will soar 22 storeys into the sky.

To be known as the Elgin Street Promenade it will be a pathway/walkway/bike path that will start sort of nowhere and go nowhere but when completed will link two sides of the city.

The drawings the city has provided are attractive enough; when completed it might do something to upgrade the sort of dowdy look the downtown core has.

There are some issues – there is a pipeline beneath the planned route that carries fuel.  That pipe line is tightly tucked beside the Mayrose Tyco building at the top of the Elizabeth Street parking lot – something the city is trying to find something to do with.  It is a piece of prime land that is used to park cars – not really great use of land.

At one point it was tagged as the location for what McMaster was going to bring to the city.  They chose the South Service Road instead.

Village Square, at one point a partnership between the Friedman family and German interests, it is now believed to be controlled by the German partner.  There was a time when the ADI Development Group attempted to negotiate with the Friedman but that didn’t go anywhere.

The first phase of the project will take what is currently a one way street that runs alongside the Martini House and the Poacher will be upgraded to a rather nice part of town that was once the bus depot.


On the east the Promenade gets people to the Centennial Trail. On the west is complete the link that will get people to the planned Beachway Park that is the biggest dream in the eyes of planners at both the city and the Region.

The long term plan should allow people to walk or cycle from the very east end of the city all the way west to the canal.

Bugeted at something in the order of $450,000 your members of Council will decide if this project should be part of the 2017 Capital budget.


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Short film to get commercial showing at Cine Starz - Holton gets a bit if a break.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 22, 2106



She has made it to the big screen!

Well – in a manner of speaking.

Holton H&S

Margaret Lindsay Holton

Margaret Lindsay Holton took her latest film to the public last September and got a more than polite response.

It was a short film with all the production problems that every film bumps into – they are just tougher to manage when the budget is shorter than the film.

But it was produced and then what? The best that happens to most of thy get sown at small film festivals where everyone says something polite and he artist goes looking for money for the next production.

Holton however is persistent if nothing else. She convinced the people at CineStarz to show her film in a commercial setting. People are going to have to pay to see the film just the way they would pay to see any other film.

This is a limited engagement – the CineStarz people may have required Holton to guarantee a limited number of ticket sales.

Frozen Goose coverIt’s an interesting film, poignant, funny in a Canadian way at times. Hopefully Holton will get the word out to every high school student studying film to attend – it is worth seeing as a nice piece of works that touches on a significant issue.

Holton refer to the event as a “Very Special ‘ONE-TIME’ Canadian THEATRICAL RELEASE at :

Cinestarz, 460 Brant Street, (Downtown Burlington) on December 18th, at 3 o’clock.

The Frozen Goose is based on a short story of the same title written by M.L.Holton, published by Seraphim Books.

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Board staff do an on-line Q&A with anyone who wanted to lob in a question - no fire works.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 22, 2106



After an hour and a half of Question and Answer done on line – does the public, and particularly the parents with children at Pearson and Central high school, know any more than they did when they woke up in Monday morning.

Not really. Everything Director of Education Stuart Miller and his Senior Manager Planning, Dom Renzella said was already public.


Director of Education Stuart Miller looking just a little tired after telling his story for the umpteenth time.

What did come through, even though Miller didn’t say so in so many words was that the Board of Education wants to hear what the community thinks should be done.

Miller has explained that given the information they have the recommendation that went to the trustee was what they felt was best. Of the 19 recommendations that were worked up – # 19 was seen to be the best one to go forward with – and as Miller has said time and again – it is a recommendation that he is fully prepared to have rejected.

It’s a starting point.

Miller agreed that there is a good case to be made for closing Bateman – it’s a couple of km away from Nelson. What wasn’t heard all that clearly is that Bateman is a newer school with better program offerings than Central and that for the educators it’s all about the programs for the students.

Community is not the focus for the Board of Education and it is on this issue that the divide is going to take place.

Central needs a lot of work – it is an old school that has fallen behind.

There was the additional issue that if Central is closed the PARC process will have to be done all over the for elementary classes given in the building – but that wasn’t an issue for Miller or Renzella.


Dom Renzella, supervisor of planning for the Halton District school board.

Miller got taken to task for advocating bigger schools – the 1200 student level – he agreed that there was merit in the argument for small schools but kept coming back to the need to offer as much subject selection as possible to the students.

What hasn’t been seen, so far, are any totally out of the box suggestions from the community. If anything out of the ordinary is going to be done with our high schools it is going to have to come from the public. That kind of thing is not going to come from this Board and its numerous Superintendents.

We did learn that the Board currently has 300 portables in use and that at some schools there are students who have every class in a portable.

Someone (there were no names attached to the questions that were read out) asked why on line and not live for the Q&A. Miller said he didn’t think there was a location that could hold all the people that would want to talk – and when you go live with hundreds of people in the room – it does get messy.

Miller doesn’t like messy and his colleague Renzella shudders at that idea.

Miller kept trying to get across that there was a lot of opportunity for people to get answers to questions they have. And that is true – but it was clear from many of the questions asked that there is a trust issue.

The two were asked why Hayden was built and the answer they gave wasn’t all that convincing. Except for the fact that there wasn’t a high school in that north east part of the city where a lot of growth had taken place.

Hayden High, Burlington's newest high school built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park right across the street.

Hayden High, Burlington’s newest high school built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park right across the street.

Early in the 90’s the planners at the board could see that growth in Alton and the Orchard was going to require a high school.

Boards of education don’t just get to build a high school because they think one is going to be needed. They have to put together a business case and convince the province that the need is real.

One of the unique and really interesting aspects of Hayden high school is that it includes a public library and a recreation centre. In that sense it is probably the high school in the city with the most “community” in it.
If the decision the trustees make ends of requiring more busing – that is something they are going to have to deal with. Miller admitted that there is a shortage of bus drivers – it is a problem that will have to be dealt with – he didn’t have an answer – he was just confident that I would be worked out.

The implementation of whatever decision is made would be in 2018 – effective at the start of the school year in September – which is when the trustees will be running for re-election. Watch for an interesting set of contests at the board of education level.

That might draw a higher turnout that would inevitably impact city council results.

What happens to the property should a school be closed?


Lester B. Pearson students demonstrating when teachers were on strike.

On that Miller covered all the bases. It isn’t going to go to a developer – or if that eventually happened it would be because no one else wanted it.

The property has to be offered to other school boards, colleges and universities that might have an interest, then the municipality. If one of them take up the opportunity it then goes on the market and sold at fair market value.

Miller was emphatic that the board does not have the ability to sell the land to anyone.

Miller seemed to flip flop a bit on involving the students; first the listeners were told that they were not going to be involved until February so they could concentrate on their exams in January but a survey is going to be sent out to the students in December.

What is his whole process going to cost? The Board allocated $100,000 in its budget.


Stuart Miller and Dom Renzella taking questions from an on-line audience Monday evening.

Miller admits that this process is having an impact on both staff and students. “I can see it in their eyes” said Miller and “we get that”.

Miller described the PARC as the process that lets the community gives its input – the Director of Education uses that input to give his final recommendation to the trustees.

The trustees make the final decision – and it is not just the four Burlington trustees – all 11 trustees get to cast a vote on this one.

There was one issue that was not clear to this listener and that was the PARC would not be making a direct recommendation to the Director. Then what will they be doing. I want to get some clarification on that point.

I am sure that holding the Q&A online seemed like a good idea at the time and there was nothing wrong with the way the process went Monday evening.

But it was a little like having plastic covers on the chesterfield – it just didn’t seem right.

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Pam's buying! MP for Oakville North Burlington is going to pony up for the coffee.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

November 21, 2016


Pam’s buying!


Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville Burlington North with her coffee crowd. Damoff is the person on the left offering a small smile.


The Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington has invited residents to drop by for a chat at the Tim Hortons on the Northeast corner of Dundas and Appleby in Burlington on Friday, November 25 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.

She wants to meet her constituents and hear about what issues or concerns are on their minds. Grab a coffee and join the conversation!

She will also be giving you some tips on how to influence what the Minister of Finance puts into the 2017 Budget.

Damoff wants you “to join the conversation about how we can make the economy work for you and your family. As we build on our momentum to grow the middle class and position Canada for the global economy of tomorrow, it is your insights which will shape our vision for Budget 2017.”

You can provide feedback to the Minister of Finance for the 2017 Budget by the end of November though his online consultations.

Here’s the online link to the budget consultations:

All ideas are welcome which is comforting to hear.

Personally we think the free coffee is the better idea. You will actually get something.

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